Saturday, 14 December 2019

Six on Saturday - 14 December 2019

We are on the cusp, the year is nearly over and soon we shall be able to look forward to daylight lengthening again, that is for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  This is the time of the year I feel at my lowest.  The light levels have been very low with heavy low clouds.

During less wet spells,  I have to get out for a little fresh air, maybe watch a few birds, and look for anything of interest in the garden, keeping as ever to the path and stepping stones.

It was a bit tough choosing a suitable six but if the Propagator and a few others say join us...then its up to me to decided whether I join them, or just peer into their gardening minds.  I shall be off to do that of course at :


It is the low time too for many of the plants in the garden.  Androsace sarmentosa Watkinsii is looking quite different with its outer leaves deteriorating and its central cluster 'pouting', all the better I think to shed all the rain. Its newer leaves are smaller and tightly packed together, and being covered with short white hairs remind me of the cobweb houseleeks: Sempervivum arachnoideum .  The older leaves are turning bronze and will rot off before the newer leaves expand, with the plant changing character once more in readiness for flowering, and thereafter making more runners.

Androsace sarmentosa Watkinsii winter phase


This is the first winter for the Cyclamen coum in the Conservatory bed.  I have some of my specials coums coming up already with the flower stems poised at soil level.  In the meantime their patterned leaves stand out. Next week I shall carefully remove some of the leaves shed from other shrubs and locate and rewrite any labels that have deteriorated.  I use black labels with silver pen, and they are not always easy to locate.

Pure White Albino Cyclamen coum George Bisson

Pewter leaved Cyclamen coum 'Tilebarn Elizabeth'

Cyclamen coum Album


My one outdoor watering can is destined for the metal recycling bin.  Its has worked for me over several gardens and many years: leaks have been sprouting and the bracing has become detached.  I must remember to keep the rose back as it is nice and fine.


The shed shelf is currently hosting three interesting pots in which 'volunteer' ferns where planted.  The ferns just 'appeared' in my last garden.  Maybe one of our SOS fern specialists will be able to identify this probably native fern.  The pots found and given to me by Penny.  


Some colour from early flowering red 'heritage' polyanthus, divided and moved just a few months ago, this was is an 'unnamed' variety bought from The Vyne.  I put up some pictures of this on my very first post of SOS, when it was flowering its socks off in March this year.  Sadly the silver laced polyanthus flowers seems to have the best tasting flowers for a nibbling creature as yet unseen.


This week has continued with  failed calls and  frustrating emails regarding the little problem I mentioned  last week.  Thanks for the feedback and support last Saturday from fellow SOSs, it has helped me to keep on and find a resolution. After Jim's valued confirmation of my suspicions regarding the Blackberry, my sleuthing led to the company who controls the  rights of propagation and their Technical Consultant was able to supply photographs as evidence, which I forwarded to Chris Bowers. The MEIOSIS site also gives a list of licensed propagators which I shall consult and use when ordering a replacement.  CB have now refunded me.  I now need to banish any bad feelings, and approach new orders with other growers and nurseries with confidence.


  1. N20Gardener posed the exact same fern question, about, I think, the same fern. My reply was: It looks like one of the male ferns, Dryopteris species. There are five species and my native fern book admits they are very tricky to identify. I think D. filix-mas and D. affinis are the usual ones.
    Good that you resolved the blackberry question. CB didn't cover themselves with glory. Retailers don't get many opportunities to go above and beyond, show how good they really are, get the customer recommending them to all and sundry. They blew it. The Androsace is extraordinary, you like your Primulaceae don't you.

    1. I had to look up what are included in the Primulaceae family and realised the Androsace, primula and cyclamen are all in the same Primulaceae family. Many thanks for being so generous with your knowledge.

    2. Dionysia, Dodecatheon and Soldanella too, lovely family.

    3. I've had to look these you grow any of them Jim? Dionysia I've admired at Key in the Alpine Glasshouse and also at Birmingham Bot. I happend to have bought some Dodecatheon in flower this year...and hoping they will come up again this year. Have seen Soldanella in the it possible to grow these in Somerset? Love the leaf of Soldanella and wonder whether it is reasonably slug proof..will study this one during the week.

  2. Love the positivity of your opening paragraphs. I keep reminding myself that the days will soon be lengthening.

  3. Androcase is a new one for me, and I think it looks terrific even in its dying off stages. I’ve learnt quite a bit from your post and Jim’s reply.

    1. Androsace has been a favourite ever since I first got it and I bought it on the strength of its rossettes, never having seen it in flower. Jim is a gem, and we all appreciate his responses.

  4. Oh it's always sad when a loved piece of gardening equipment comes to the end of the road Noelle. You will miss that watering can. Glad to hear that the blackberry business was resolved.

  5. I'm so sorry you got the run around from CG & hope any bad thoughts will be effectively banished even before your replacement arrives. Thanks for the link to the Meiosis site. I love the spout on your watering can very much, as well as the ferns in their nifty pots & the various cyclamen.

  6. Midwinter soon! I do look forward to that although spring is some way off still, at least I can start sowing seeds a few weeks after.

  7. I am tempted by your first plant - not that I could get one - since Watkins was my maiden name. From Wales to New Zealand, and now in Cape Town.

    1. Any connection with the great Botanist/Plant collector? You certainly are in an area of outstanding diversity and from your blog enjoy your botanising in the Cape...maybe you will discover and name a special new plant....Watkinstrudii? Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful finds.